Last month the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Bruce Thomas found London Mayor, Joe Fontana, guilty of three criminal charges: fraud under $5,00, uttering a forged document, and breach of trust. Mr. Fontana will return to court later this month, on July 15, to be sentenced, but he has already stepped down as mayor following the convictions.
The charges stemmed from an expense claim Fontana submitted while he was MP for London North Centre and federal minister for Labour and Housing in Paul Martin's liberal government. The expense claim was for a "miscellaneous constituent reception." The attached contract, however, was for his son's wedding. The contract had been altered by Fontana to remove his wife's signature, adding his own, and changing the purpose the function and the date. He failed to alter the contract number, a unique number that had been designated for his son's wedding.
Fontana's lawyer has indicated they may consider appealing the convictions, but will have to wait until after he is sentenced later this month, where he could face jail time. The charge of fraud under $5,000 carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment, the charge of uttering forged document carries a maximum penalty of ten years, and the charge of breach of trust carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years.
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